Two Days in the USA

January 19, 2009

MLK Day and Inauguration Day, that is. It seems fitting that the inauguration of the first black president of the USA is the day after the celebration of MLK’s legacy.

I wondered about the algorithms for assigning specific dates to these days. I should probably have known, and maybe most citizens do, but I didn’t. An article that popped up on Yahoo News today told me that the 20th amendment moved inauguration day from April 30 to January 20. There were technological reasons for the switch to the colder time of year. A senate committee put it like this.

Under present conditions [of communication and transportation] the result of elections is known all over the country within a few hours after the polls close, and the Capital City is within a few days’ travel of the remotest portions of the country.

That was in 1937. It’s somehow cool to juxtapose that with the thought that Obama is taking a train, rather than jet plane, to DC.

On the other hand, it’s somehow strange to see how white the world is this MLK day. I refer to the snowstorm that went on rather longer than the forecasters thought it would. MLK day is “observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King’s birthday, January 15″ (from Wikipedia).

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